Most manufacturing equipment is subject to heavy vibration. As the equipment rattles, the seals on the rotary shafts start to come undone. Seals are in place to contain oil or another liquid; when the seal moves, leaks happen, and oil spills become a concern. Try these tips to keep your rotary shaft seals in place and leak free.
Install Seals Correctly
You can save yourself a significant amount of trouble by installing your seals correctly the first time around. Clean the seal and the location thoroughly before placement, and face the seal in the right direction before you place it.
Alignment is everything when placing a rotary shaft seal. Your seal needs to be perpendicular to the shaft, and you should make sure that you use a different contact point than the last seal. If you go carefully, your new seal will be far less susceptible to vibration and casual movement.
Perform Regular Inspections
Figure out where each seal is located on your equipment. Check the seal for damage as part of your regular inspection routine. If you see small amounts of oil or liquid around the rim of the shaft, it might mean that the seal’s integrity has been compromised.
Depending on the type of manufacturing equipment you own, you should perform a brief maintenance inspection at least once a week. Conduct a more serious inspection on a monthly basis. If you notice small problems early, you can save yourself thousands of dollars on repairs.
Replace Seals on a Consistent Basis
Most modern seals are made from elastomer. Elastomers are quite durable, but they won’t last forever. Your seals will probably need replacement at least once every one to three years. If you notice small leaks, they’ll need to be replaced even more often.
A rotary shaft seal manufacturer will be able to identify the correct seals for your equipment; they’ll also provide you with a steady supply of fresh ones. Ask the manufacturer about how often the seals will need replacement, and set a reminder on your digital calendar.
Repair Small Leaks Immediately
Small leaks become bigger leaks, and big leaks result in oil spills and factory accidents. Don’t wait for a loose seal to become a problem; the second that you notice liquid where it shouldn’t be, see about replacing the faulty seal immediately.
If the same seal keeps leaking repeatedly, the shaft surface might be damaged. Years of contact can change the shape of the metal and prevent you from correctly aligning your new seals. This doesn’t mean you have to replace the shaft; look for a rubber sleeve or a repair glue that will correct the surface damage.
You can’t prevent every seal from leaking, but you can definitely minimize the impact. With consistent maintenance and timely repairs, you might never have to worry about an oil spill again.
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.